|Paddy, Miguel, Martina, and Petra, hospitaleros all|
|Holy Innocents on Calle Ontanon|
We even got a Christmas tree put up, at the very last minute. It is outdoors, in Murphy´s window, all decked with jolly lights. We let the hens run loose in the yard, and split up a big ol´ cheap sausage among the dogs. A good time was had by all, and seeing as hospitaleros were part of the scene, everything was cleaned-up and put away before sundown.
I picked up Philip the next day, at the airport in Madrid. I will not burden you with the hair-raising ordeal of finding him there. All is well now. He is here with us at The Peaceable, a bigger, broader version of himself. He is my son, whom I have not seen in almost two years! He is a first-year student at Franklin Pierce/University of New Hampshire School of Law. He loves to talk. I am adjusting my sensors from "prevailing silence" to "chatterbox." I love him very much.
Paddy is prevailing silent. Jo, his first wife and mom to his three boys, is hospitalized down in Malaga, gravely ill with blood poisoning. His son Matt is there with her. Paddy is not sure what to do. He is not much good at sick-bed duty, or even keeping his other two sons apprised of events. He cooks us lovely spaghettis and omelettes, and cracks wise, and swears at horse races on the computer. I love him too. I just hope I never get very sick.
The other exciting news on this Day of Holy Innocents is I finally met Alicia! She is the first grandchild born to Julia and Paco, two of our good neighbors. She is a month old, very tiny and pink and doll-like, with very good lungs. Her mother is simply besotted with her, as you might expect. I look at them, and I look at Philip, who was about that size himself only 24 years ago. I marvel at what time does to people. And I rejoice in my heart, knowing Julia has a grandchild, and knowing I never have to face raising another infant of my own!
In the evening Raquel came by, bearing gifts: beautiful yellow apples from their huerta, two jars of jam, and a great quivering block of membrillo -- quince jelly. Milagros gave us a great block of membrillo last week, the same day Angel gave us a spectacular cabbage. We still are discussing what should be done with it. What shall we make with it all? Can it all be eaten?
So here we are with an abundance of food and wine, with friends enough to share our Christmas feast, with family come from far away to spend some time in silence. Here we are with generations of a town: Raquel and Modesto the patriarchs, little Alicia the future. And here we are with worries for one of our own, someone fragile and far, whom we could easily lose.
It is quiet and sunny, chilly and sleepy. The last couple of months have been tough, but 2011 was a very good and busy year for us, taken all together. I can´t ask for any more than that, can I?